Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Ford v Ferrari’

Movie magic brings 1960s-era race car drama to life

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 11/14/19

The new car racing film "Ford v Ferrari" by James Mangold is a well-designed bit of semi-macho fluff based upon a real life rivalry ...

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Ford v Ferrari’

Movie magic brings 1960s-era race car drama to life

Posted

The new car racing film "Ford v Ferrari" by James Mangold is a well-designed bit of semi-macho fluff based upon a real life rivalry that came together in the 1960s at the 24-hour race at Le Mans.

Although the film uses as subtext the clash between iconoclastic British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) against corporate stuffed shirts at the Ford Motor Company, Mangold succumbs to using a conventional Hollywood movie script and character stereotypes.

It’s not a bad movie. It’s just that it has been done before, better and more authentically. Back in the day when movies like “Grand Prix,” “Winning” and “Le Mans” set the standard, car racing was a national obsession, televised as huge events that had audiences breathlessly glued to TV sets and radios. Obviously, filmmakers back then didn’t have digital artists to help them visualize the dangers and pathos against a green screen inside a well-lit studio. Many times, the actors themselves were photographed actually behind the wheel.

No, “Ford v Ferrari” isn’t a bad movie, in fact it seems perfectly suited for today’s audiences. It focuses on competition, sportsmanship, dignity, respect and honesty, all virtues we want to see in heroes, but aside from Damon and Bale, most of the other cast are essentially one dimensional figures. This is to the detriment of real life people who may have been shortchanged. Take Josh Lucas’ take on Ford racing executive Leo Beebe.

Google his name and you’ll discover someone who was and still is highly regarded and not the slimey sycophant depicted in the movie. Or Caitriona Balfe’s depiction of Mollie Miles, Ken’s wife. She is shown to be strong and intelligent — she even likes cars — but she ends up being the wifey at home taking care of their little one while hubby is off winning trophies while the IRS brings the hammer down on the family business. At least there is one point when she grabs the wheel of the family station wagon and races down the highway scaring the bejeezus out of Ken until he finally breaks down and tells her an important bit of news. But, she deserves more.

The movie is basically about the Ford Motor Company’s need to prove itself in the international racing circuit, which, in turn, it hopes will translate into the kind of sales boost it needs to push past the popularity of Chevy cars. That’s when they attract the attention of Shelby whom they persuade with an offer to let him build the ultimate American-made race car fast enough to take on Ferrari on the world stage, namely the 24-hour race at Le Mans raceway.

Shelby’s good friend is Ken Miles who is known as a volatile but perfectionist driver and mechanic. Shelby enlists Ken to help him build the car and together they to work toward creating a dream come true. But, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) has his own way of doing things, and that includes shaping their efforts with the aid of public relations, advertising, and promotion execs, which has predictable results.

As far as acting is concerned, Bale stands out as a solid lead, but there’s a bit of shimmy in the steering. If there is something wanting it’s that Bale isn’t given enough screen time to flesh out what is clearly the most interesting person in the cast.

Tempo grade: B+

“Ford v Ferrari” is rated PG-13 for some language and peril.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Charlie’s Angels

MPAA rating: PG-13 for action/violence, language and some suggestive material.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Director Elizabeth Banks, who also plays Bosley, takes the helm as the next generation of fearless Charlie's Angels take flight.

In Banks' bold vision, Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally.

With the world's smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere. When a young systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, Charlie's Angels are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect us all.

The screenplay is by Elizabeth Banks from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Jojo Rabbit

MPAA rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, and language.

Taos Community Auditorium

Writer-director Taika Waititi brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) whose worldview is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 17) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Nov. 18-20) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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